Bluefin tuna: Commissioner Damanaki expects full compliance during 2011 fishing season (15 May-15 June)
Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, Maria Damanaki today said that she expects Member States to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance by their vessels during the main fishing season for bluefin tuna, which started on 15 May. 15 May to 15 June marks the period where large trawlers (purse seiners) are allowed to fish for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic. Vessels from seven EU member states are active in this fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus). The EU's overall quota is 5 756 tonnes for the 2011 season, reduced from 7 087 last year, of which over half is caught by the purse seiners fleet.
A strict control and inspection programme to monitor and enforce all aspects of the bluefin tuna fishery has been put in place. It involves deployment of inspectors, patrol vessels and aircrafts and is managed by the European Commission, the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) and the Member States. The European Commission also monitors catches and analyes Vessel Monitoring System data (a satellite based control system) on an hourly basis to ensure that all rules, and particularly the individual vessels' quotas, are fully respected.
Regarding the issue of Libyan Flagged vessels, the Commission is closely monitoring the situation and will address it appropriately through ICCAT and our own legal instruments.